County of Kings Superior Court
Within the constructed landscape, the new Kings County Courthouse will present itself as a territory within a landscape. It will have its own clearly defined edges and presence while still harmonizing with its immediate surroundings.
The transition between residential and commercial zoning challenged the project to create its own rhythm and orientation that will affect the future development of the area. The building is placed near the south-east corner of the site in proximity to the existing jail facility. This relationship allows for the two buildings to be connected by extending the existing underground tunnel.
The design team oriented the building on an east-west axis to capitalize on the energy-reducing advantages of this solar orientation. This passive technique reduces the heat load in the summer and allows the sun to come in during the winter, thereby helping to achieve the overall energy efficiency goals of the project. Additionally, the orientation is aesthetically advantageous, providing a view to the mountains from all north facing offices while keeping the jail primarily out of view.
The courthouse building itself is organized as a simple 4 courtroom-per-floor bar building, with chambers and other services attached to the back side for relatively close access to the courtrooms. Off of the atrium are all counters for each department, creating an open and accessible area for the high traffic volume.
All department and building functions feed off of the separate, secure corridor to the north. A partial basement houses the central holding facility which is accessed only by the northwest stair and the in-custody elevators located between courtrooms. This approach optimizes efficiency by accommodating, through relative adjacencies, the various functional interrelationships of these components while directly enhancing ease of access and security.
The courthouse is expected to be completed by early 2013.